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November 3, 2022
On November 3, the Katonah Museum of Art will have its 2022 Gala and Auction. The celebration will commemorate Ali Banisadr, Huma Bhabha, and Pauline Forlenza (previously Willis), director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts, as well as KMA executive director Michelle Yun Mapplethorpe and two other prominent artists from around the world (AFA).
The renowned Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a two-time James Beard Award winner and Michelin star restaurant in Tarrytown, New York, will host the gala, which will feature an auction, cocktail reception, three-course meal, and after party. The bigger Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, a nonprofit farm, teaching, and research facility established on land given by the Rockefeller Estate, includes Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
“Our gala champions art and artists engaging at the intersection of the social, cultural, and political issues of our time. Each of our three honorees has contributed significantly to contemporary discourse as catalysts of art-driven social change,” said Vida Foubister, President of the KMA Board of Trustees.
Since its initial gala, the KMA has honored the remarkable contributions and achievements of artists, thinkers, and others who have influenced culture and whose roles as role models, forerunners, and pioneers in the arts have paved the way for succeeding generations.
“I’m delighted for this opportunity to recognize the significant contributions of our honorees,” said Michelle Yun Mapplethorpe, Executive Director of the KMA. “Their diverse heritages and respective localities across New York state illuminate the rich cultural resources and cosmopolitanism intimately accessible to the KMA, an aspect of the Museum’s unique platform that I am excited to champion during its new chapter under my leadership.”
The KMA will honor three individuals this year: Huma Bhabha, a Pakistani-American sculptor from Karachi, Pakistan, who is now based in Poughkeepsie, New York; and Pauline Forlenza, the director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts (AFA), which has its headquarters in New York City. Ali Banisadr is a contemporary artist born in Tehran, Iran, who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Ali Banisadr’s work demonstrates a careful balancing act between chaos and composure, and abstract and figurative painting and drawing. His complex, expansive paintings are rich with figurative allusions rooted in autobiographical narratives, sonic recollection, invented stories, world history, collective memory, and mythology. Banisadr has been the subject of numerous international solo and group exhibitions and his work is featured in numerous public collections including British Museum, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Huma Bhabha’s monumental sculptures, installations, photographs, and works on paper are informed by a visual vocabulary that references a constellation of influences from across chronologies and geographies, mediums, and the genres of science fiction, horror, and the grotesque, among others. Her totemic figures are mediations on the human form that transcend time and place, allowing the artist to explore universal concerns around war, colonialism, identity, and displacement. Bhabha has been the subject of international solo and group exhibitions and her work is featured in public collections including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Pauline Forlenza is the Director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts (AFA). Under her leadership, the AFA has reinvigorated and expanded its exhibition program, developed innovative programs relating to museum exhibitions and collaborations, international curatorial exchanges and partnerships between museums, expanded the organization’s membership program, and raised funds to enable these endeavors. Forlenza has continued the AFA’s storied history of uplifting art movements and artists that have been omitted from the western canon, are underresourced, or remain underacknowledged for their contributions.